Published date 28 September 2022

Combined Authority grant for the next generation of Bristol playworkers

Visit to Eastside Community Trust's Felix Road Adventure Playground, Easton. Pictured (left to right) are Stacy Yelland (CEO), Amina Shirdoon (child), Metro Mayor Dan Norris, Kate Bilsborough (Senior Playworker), Mesha Singh (child), Nirmal Singh (Kitchen Coordinator) and Abiir Shirdoon (Engagement Worker)

Bristol youngsters will be able to follow in the footsteps of half a century of local residents before them at Felix Road Adventure Playground, thanks to the vital work of Kilburn Street-based Eastside Community Trust.

Bristol faces a shortage of ‘playworkers’ but a £15,000 grant from the West of England Combined Authority’s Community Support Fund, led by Metro Mayor Dan Norris, is helping the Eastside Community Trust group begin to turn the tide.

Mayor Norris saw first-hand how new, free-to-learners training courses are giving local people across East & central Bristol the skills and training they need to become fully-qualified playworkers. He will meet trainees learning how to supervise and support children on ropes, tyre swings, zip lines and climbing beams, making safety their top priority.

The trainees benefit from mentoring and work placements at all six of Bristol’s adventure playgrounds.

Studies repeatedly show that outdoor play is important to help create healthier, smarter and - most importantly - happier children, so it’s more important than ever to find that next playworker generation to inspire Bristol’s youngsters, said Mayor Norris.

He said: “A healthy active youngster is more likely to be a healthy adult too so it’s so important to get children off to the best possible start in life. Working with young people can be such a rewarding career so I’m very pleased to support this scheme to train up new play workers. And I have to say some of the activities at Felix Road Adventure Playground look amazing fun to try!”

Eastside Community Trust is a charity running several community projects in Easton and Lawrence Hill, including its after-school food programme. It employs 30 staff and welcomed more than 1,300 children at Felix Road during the summer holidays this year.

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